President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday warned officers and men of the Armed Forces, to resist the temptation of behaving like bullies in the course of carrying out their constitutional duties to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country.
This was even as he noted that the fight against terrorism cannot be realized without a credible and effective military.
President Buhari gave the warning on the occasion of the passing out parade of 399 officer Cadets of the 62 regular course and short service course 43 of the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna.
He stressed that his administration would continue to insist on the rule of law, adding that Armed Forces must not deviate from laws of armed conflict as well as ensuring that human rights are not abused.
He reiterated his government’s commitment to due process, merit and total observance of the rule of law as central pillars of a prosperous and democratic society.
He however, called on the passing out cadets to play their roles as junior leaders in tackling the prevailing security challenges with guidance and supervision from their superiors who are discharging their duties with diligence. He said, “While I applaud the integrity and sterling record of the Armed Forces as an institution, this administration will insist on the rule of law, and deal with any proven cases of deviation from laws of armed conflict (LOAC), including human rights abuses.
In operational conduct, Nigerians expect our Armed Forces to keep law and order and not to behave like bullies.
“The objectives of our fight against terrorism cannot be realized without a credible and effective military. On your shoulders therefore lies the mechanism to drive the junior leadership in our Armed Forces. The Armed Forces of Nigeria have a world-acclaimed reputation for valour, resilience and loyal service.
“Let me reiterate the administration’s renewed commitment to due process, merit and total observance of the rule of law as central pillars of a prosperous and democratic society. Rule of law as an element of good governance applies to the Armed Forces as much as any institution in our country.
“It is therefore gratifying to note that recently all three Services have taken steps to not only emphasize strict adherence to rules in area of recruitment, promotions, procurement, project executions, and more importantly, in civil-military relations.
“I would like to commend the NDA Leadership for reminding everybody that NDA is a Professional Military Education (PME) institution. In this regard, serious efforts have been made to ensure that academic endeavors must necessarily relate and serve the professional needs of the military.
“I expect that ongoing efforts to review all academic courses of study towards enhancing the professional education capacity of the military will soon be completed. The message of these ongoing reviews, which I hereby reiterate, is that Nigeria is blessed with many civil universities.
“NDA must therefore carve out a niche for itself as a military research university because of its uniqueness, instead of mirror-imaging and competing with civil universities. That is why I want to recognize and commend the current Commandant for continuing to support the new Centres of Excellence established by his predecessor.
“Let me assure you that the Federal Government will continue to work towards facilitation of the completion of the NDA’s Permanent Site.
“I urge you to remain steadfast in your uncommon task of producing world-class officers who will continue to bring home laurels for the Nigerian Defence Academy and for Nigerians.
“For you the passing out Cadets, today marks the end of your very tough training in the Academy and the beginning of your career as officers in the Armed Forces.
As you are aware, some of those who started the course with you discontinued because they could not withstand the rigours of the physical, mental and intellectual challenges which you gallantly endured.
“Furthermore, the nation demands of you exemplary conduct and professionalism wherever you are deployed, be it locally or internal security operation missions, or internationally in Peace Support Operation missions around the world.”
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